Archive for the tag “NAEC”

Euro Lift 2015

Spent last week in Kielce Poland working a booth at EuroLift 2015. This trip is always fun – the business? – a challenge to say the least.

We (Teresa joined me this year which made the trip especially nice) traveled overnight Saturday thru Amsterdam to Warsaw where we took a day and a half to adjust to the European time. We had a chance in Warsaw to have dinner again with Tom Sullivan a long time, good friend, of my son Dustin. This year his wife Sarah also came out. They are a neat couple – Americans who have been living in Warsaw for some 5 years now. They now have their first bambino and are beginning to look forward to transferring back to the good ole U S of A.

Warsaw is a beautiful city. The weather was October perfect on Monday – sunny with maybe a high of 70. An ideal day for touring an interesting city. There is a mix of new high-rise, modern architecture, which is within blocks of the re-built old city with traditional streets and squares. There are many excellent restaurants, the people are terribly friendly, and there is virtually no language barrier – everyone there speaks English fluently. Don’t miss Warsaw if you ever get the chance.

On Tues AM, Peter Ackerman, owner of Lifts & More, and Hollister Whitney’s representative in Poland, picked us up for the 2 hour drive to Kielce. He and I spent the day setting up the booth. We needed to overcome some self-inflicted difficulties, but with Doug Dietrich of Hollister providing long distance technical support, pulled it together and had two running Rope Gripper demonstrators before the sun went down. Ahh – the glamour of business travel.

Peter Ackerman and me in the Lifts And More booth

Peter Ackerman and me in the Lifts And More booth

An aside – On Tues, thanks to my son Dustin (Midwest Elevator in St Louis) and his sweet wife Lauren, Teresa and I became Grandparents again – Joleen Elizabeth – all happy and healthy.

Weds, Thurs, and Friday were show days – 10 till 5. The show is very well organized, and the facility is as good as any anywhere in the world – but this is really a regional show and it doesn’t demand 3 days – 2 would be great. There were 115 exhibitors (slightly down from last time) working booths that ranged from very modest to really elaborate. Don’t know the final attendance numbers, but it seemed to us that it might also have been less than 2 years ago.

Brian Farley (Hudson Elevator), President of NAEC, was in Prague visiting his Daughter who is in school there, flew over and joined Teresa for meetings with Polish Lift Association. They reported that their talks were very interesting – both associations trying to figure out if there are things that they could do better. Teresa felt like they fielded many more questions than they had a chance to ask – so be it – new contacts made – our elevator world continues to shrink.

When working the booth, language can become a stumbling block. I was very happy to have Peter there to back me up. The Rope Gripper is technical enough that it’s hard to get features and benefits translated. Even though A17 code and EN81 code are essentially the same, the terminology is very different and subject to interpretation even when being discussed in the same language. Makes working the booth fun and challenging.

Rope Gripper banner in Polish

Rope Gripper banner in Polish

In Poland, the contractors use bi-directional safeties and a solenoid pin through the governor wheel to address the Ascending Car Overspeed and Unintentional Motion issues. Rope Gripper is a much more elegant solution but their market doesn’t demand it. They have no rules to prevent slipping traction. We have taken our at-bats here, Peter Ackerman is a conscientious and competent representative. I doubt if I will return to EuroLift.

Mid Atlantic Elevator Chapter Golf Outing

The night before the annual MAEC golf outing, we had a great night out with John Warring III and his crew from Warfield and Sanford Elevator. It’s altogether too rare that we get a chance to break bread – and always a crazy fun nite. And do you know Jerry’s Seafood restaurant? There are a couple of them in the DC area – whew – they do a “Crab Bomb” entrée. I’ll just tell you that it is aptly named.

Does it seem like there’s been a lot of golf outings lately – ya, I agree. The Mid Atlantic Elevator Chapter held their outing on Weds October first. And a good day it was too. Great weather, very nice course,(Lake Presidential Club in Upper Marlboro MD), and I had the excellent company of my good friends Bob Kazar and Mike Paschke from Canton Elevator and Dick Vinciquerra from AFD.

The round itself was a death march. It took over 6 hours to play an 18 hole scramble. At an outing everyone plays as slow as the slowest group – not too much you can do about that – except the ranger on the course was brain dead –couldn’t figure out why / where the holdup was. Nice guy, just not so bright.

The MAEC is a hybrid. It is actually a chapter of NAEC – as opposed to most regional associations who stand on their own. NAEC provides all kinds of support and organization for the group. Kudos go to Shawn Cowden who was the staff member assigned and on site for the outing. I know he enjoys this sort of work (it shows) and the event wouldn’t come off without his efforts.

The emcee chores at the banquet are ably handled by Jeff Kneuer of Innovation Industries, and Mark Yako of GAL. These guys know how to run a raffle. Fun and funny and fast. It’s always good to rub shoulders with the DC elevator group.

NAEC Night at the Park

On Monday night, NAEC did an experiment and invited a bunch of Atlanta area elevator types to join them in a luxury box at Turner Field. The least exciting part was the one to nothing loss of the Braves to the Pirates. There was no defense needed on the field because there was no offence. So we pretty much ignored the field.

But the rest was a ball. There were 34 attendees all together. NAEC contractor, supplier, and consultant members got a chance to rub shoulders on a beautiful Atlanta evening. Most of the NAEC staff was also able to be there. The environment, food, drink, and company were all outstanding. A very fun night. I wish I had taken some pictures.

GALaxy controls have a great presence in the Atlanta area. Either Lerch Bates or Premier Elevator deserves the credit for firmly anchoring GALaxy as the control of choice in these parts. I got a chance to thank Tim Murphy of LBA, and Phil Reid, Hugh Bertchin, and Robert Barber of Premier Elevator all in the same evening.

Based on the popularity of this event, NAEC is looking for opportunities to host similar member get togethers in other cities / venues. If you think that something like this might go over well in your area, you ought to give Teresa a buzz and plant the seed with her.

A great time was had by all.

Nebraska Ho!

Ah, the glamor of business travel. Last week Monday, I left the office at 8:30 AM headed to LaGuardia and out to Lincoln NE for the annual Elevator U gathering. I finally got to my hotel room at 11:20 that night. The airline gods really had it in for me. Mechanical problems, delayed flights, missed connections, cancelled flights. I experienced probably every possible snafu – and all in one day. To get to Lincoln, you need to go to either Detroit or Minneapolis – then to Omaha – then it’s an hours drive. Whew.

That’s the bad news, the good news is the time we had at Elevator U. Mark Yako was along, as was Brian Musholt from Hollister Whitney. Our companies are specialists in non-proprietary products, and most the University types demand non-proprietary products. This group is great for us which makes our time in the booth fun – we have a lot of member support.

There were some 110 plus attendees who benefitted from all of the education and enjoyed the social events. David Smarte (Delaware Elevator) gave the attendees a complete review of the NAEC’s CET program, and its benefits for the university elevator types. Shawn and Kathy were there in an NAEC booth and said they found several prospective new members – this is the way things are supposed to work – each group feeding off of, and into, the other.

Nebraska Capital Dome - A recent historical mod by O'Keefe Elevator

Nebraska Capital Dome – A recent historical mod by O’Keefe Elevator


We had some great interaction with O’Keefe Elevator – they are the powerhouse contractor is this part of the country. First of all, we stayed in a Marriott in which O’Keefe Elevator had modernized the equipment and all the cars were all running on GALaxy controls – a feather in the cap of the good guys. As part of the education, a group from O’Keefe gave us a tour of their historic modernization at the state capital building, and then Mark and I went over to Omaha and had a great evening with the whole crew (less Brett Ables who was tied up). O’Keefe is an impressive company in every aspect.

Terri Flint (U of Michigan – President) and Martin Culp (U of Maryland – Chairman) are to be congratulated. Elevator U is a contributing and growing association representing a vital portion of our industry. Nice work

NAEC Educational Seminar

I am writing on the last day of the NAEC Midyear Educational Conference in Sanibel Fla. It has been a great week of education and camaraderie. My sweetheart Teresa, along with Faye, and Shawn, the NAEC staff on-site, pulled this event off in flawless fashion and the Sanibel Harbor Resort proved to be an outstanding venue.

After several solid days of education, a fishing foray, a couple of very fun nights and few chances to tee up that little white ball, I hate to see it come to an end. Brian Musholt, Mark Yako and I have been here representing GAL and Hollister Whitney, and we were joined for two days by Walt Glaser, Paul Seifried, and James Varon who shared the customer contact responsibilities and enjoyed a much needed break from the cold weather up north. Steve Husband, from GAL Canada, is on the NAEC Board of Directors and so his attendance is mandatory. On top of this crew, Tony Glick from GAL did an educational session on the installation and adjustment of the MOVFR and MOVFE door operators.

I chaired a committee for NAEC to develop a specification data base. With tremendous help from Amanda Smith at NAEC, we wrapped up our task, and I had the pleasure of introducing it during the supplier general session here. It was really well received and I think it will become a key member service from the association. If you need an explanation, just call Amanda at NAEC.

The weather came and went thru the week with some days being warm and sunny while others were cool and overcast. On Sunday I went backwater fishing (we caught maybe 35 fish) with my Ohio friends, Dick Vinciquerra of AFD, and Mike Paschke and Bob Kazar of Canton Elevator. Got a bit too much sun without realizing it. So Monday, as luck would have it, it was pretty much cool and cloudy, and I stayed in the educational sessions without missing any of the sunshine.

The official golf tournament is this afternoon and the day looks great for it. I have a reunion foursome set up, Dickie V, Perry Burch from Nashville, and Jack Higgs from Quality Elevator in the DC area. The four of us have teed it up frequently over the last 30 years. John Curzon, Ensota from the UK, has a bum shoulder and can’t play so he is renting a pontoon boat and taking a bunch of ladies for an excursion – can you sing ‘a three hour cruise?’ I’m trying to get someone to label the boat The SS Minnow.

Anyhow, great interaction, friendship, education and recreation in Sanibel Florida with a record number of attendees, in a great setting – way fun. If you don’t have the NAEC Midyear Educational Seminar on your radar, you are missing a grand industry event. You need to be part of it.

Site Visit to San Antonio

It’s always fun to watch Teresa work.

Last weekend I accompanied her on a site visit to San Antonio TX to check out the location of the NAEC Annual Convention and Trade Show this fall. John and Andrea Sweeney, current NAEC President and First Lady, also came along. John will preside over this convention and become what is affectionately called a ‘has-been’ at its conclusion.

You can’t believe the effort that goes into this sort of preparation. This contract is signed – it’s going to happen in San Antonio some 6 mos from now. Teresa is there doing what she calls the ‘broad brush’ stuff. She will go back and pass her notes onto Kerrie Rebmann who is the staff meeting planner. Kerrie will go on site a couple of times between now and then to do the tie-down details.

So, you ask, “what’s the broad brush stuff”? I’m gonna tell you. In both the HQ hotel and the overflow hotel, we looked at guest rooms, breakout rooms, meeting rooms, banquet rooms, ball rooms, bar rooms, and public spaces –we talked about décor, views, acoustics, lighting, seating, bedding, breakfasts, lunches, hors d’oeuvres, dinners, food stations, buffets, cocktails, patios, average temperatures, plan B’s, and plan C’s. We met with the hotel management and food service manager , the Chef, the Sous Chef, and the banquet sales types.

At the Convention Center where the trade show will be, we also had a run thru of capabilities. We saw and talked about registration, entry, security, loading docks, layout, floor loading, ceiling heights, power, lighting, heating, cooling, set up, and tear down. The Convention Center has its own set of management and sales types all of whom could not have been more helpful.

Three hours were also made good use of by representatives of the SA CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) who gave us a soup to nuts tour of the city – quite an up-and coming area – already the 7th largest city in the country.

And this is the broad brush sort of stuff? I cannot imagine what the rest of the NAEC staff goes through as the event draws near.

There is a two week long rodeo festival that we were lucky enough to get in on – hint – try the Texas wine. We walked thru only one of the three buildings full of anything southwestern – whew – hundreds of vendors. Each of us bought components of what will be our outfits for the “Diamonds and Denim” event in September. The Diamonds and Denim event is going to replace the formal dinner dance which has been a part of NAEC conventions since forever. (BTW – this is the NAEC’s 65th birthday year)

Beyond that – and I know this will shock those who know me, as well as Teresa, John, and Andrea – we put the bar and restaurant scene to a severe test. San Antonio has a unique feature – a river that runs right thru the town – The Riverwalk – Sidewalks on both sides – packed with bars and restaurants. Private barges and water Taxis travel up and down the river at all hours, taking revelers from top to bottom. Andrea said she could do it backstroke but we didn’t allow her to show us.

The American Culinary Institute has a campus and restaurant where we had dinner – Yum – crazy different fare. Restaurants from dive to divine (we checked em all out) are lined up one after the other. For the most part it is a get your boots on, get a buzz on kind of place.

So here’s the upshot. San Antonio – go there and have some fun. Don’t miss the NAEC this fall.

Interlift 2013

Just returned from 7 days in Germany at the 2013 Interlift Trade Show. Interlift is one of the largest elevator gatherings in the world. This year there were some 18000 visitors who came to see exhibits erected by 504 vendors from 40 countries taking up 45,000 square meters (485,000 Sq feet).Whew – elevators on a big scale.

Our emphasis at Interlift is the Hollister Whitney Rope gripper. The European Code – EN81 – has just added amendment 3 which for the first time has requirements to protect against unintentional car movement with the doors open – one of the hazards that Rope Gripper is designed to protect against.

I am always baffled by the different approaches to elevatoring that are generally accepted in different places in the world. In North America, Australia, and Asia, almost without exception, we address ACO (Ascending Car Overspeed) and UCM (Unintentional Car Movement) with a rope brake – read the Rope Gripper.  In Europe, their approach is very different. They make modifications and add a battery back-up to a traditional bi-directional safety in order to comply. Both are equally convinced that the other is just plain crazy.

Frank Musholt in the Hollister booth at Interlift

Frank Musholt in the Hollister booth at Interlift

This year, because Hollister Whitney is not a household name in the rest of the world, we introduced a new web site – www.ropegrippers.com – take a look. It contains everything about the HW Rope Gripper.

The show itself can be grueling – it goes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm four days in a row. If you have ever worked trade shows, you know that this is an endurance test. We take a large enough contingent that we can work in shifts – this allows for some time to actually go and see the rest of the show as well as working the booth. This year, the old guys – Walter & Herbie Glaser, Frank Musholt, and I – worked the booth in the AM and the younger guys – Paul Seifried, Brian Musholt, and James Varon took over in the afternoons. Made it more comfortable for everyone.

Teresa also attended and worked a booth for NAEC – looking to attract membership and attendance at their events. John Sweeney, President of the Association, along with first lady Andrea, represented NAEC at many of the official and unofficial functions. I think they found Interlift an eye-opener from the industry/ NAEC standpoint and I know they had ball hanging out with the international crowd.

For the 6th Interlift in a row – (12 yrs cause it’s held every other year) Hollister Whitney hosted a large group of Americans and other friends for a night out in Munich. Crazy fun. We all take a coach from Augsburg to Munich, have a great Bavarian meal, (this year we were at the Hauxenbaur, maybe the most famous Bavarian restaurant in Munich) and then carry on to the Hofbrauhaus (world famous beer hall) for even more merriment.

Walter Glaser welcomes Hollister's guests at the Hauxembaur

Walter Glaser welcomes Hollister’s guests at the Hauxembaur

It is a tradition that the NAEC President gets up and directs the oom pah band in the Hofbrauhaus and John Sweeney did yeoman’s work to raise the bar on this count. I have the video but it’s too large to attach here – take my word for it – entertaining. Shelly Klehr from MEI (Mikes Klehr’s spouse) also showed off her director’s skills – whew, neither is ready for the Philharmonic.

We got to catch up with a lot of our international friends. Dirk Henning and Philip Molineus from Henning are big players in Germany and had the booth directly across for ours. Dagcan Piroglu from Moston, our representative in Turkey, was also in the same hall exhibiting. Peter Lycett had a large contingent with him from ILE in the UK. John Wang from DTS in China with his two new compatriots John Curzon and Peter Collins of Ensota. We also had a good chance to talk with our representatives in India, Ashok Subhedar and Swapnil Astunkar from DSA.

Walter and John Sweeney get into the atmosphere at the Hofbrauhaus

Walter and John Sweeney get into the atmosphere at the Hofbrauhaus

Peter Ackerman from Lifts & More was there. Peter represents Rope Gripper in Poland and introduced me last year to the Euro Lift show in Kielce Poland. For circulation during Interlift, he and I co-authored an article in the Elevatori Magazine “How It Works” supplement.

Every Interlift, there are more participants from the US. Twelve years ago there were very few. This year – and forgive me if I’ve left some out – we saw our friends from: AFD Industries, Canton Elevator, Texacone, Wurtec, MEI, ELSCO, CE Electronics, Elevator Solutions, NAEC, Elevator World, Jersey Elevator, Atlantic Elevator North, and City Elevator (New York).

Interlift is an important gathering for the elevator industry. If you can ever make it fit into your schedule and budget, you ought to go experience it at least once.

NAEC Site VIsit in Grand Rapids

I had a great experience on Wed, Thurs, and Fri last week. I went to an NAEC site visit with Teresa and a group of other volunteers – in Grand Rapids Michigan – really. I can hear you asking, “what’s an NAEC site visit all about?” and “why Grand Rapids?”.

Here’s the way this stuff works: NAEC has a specification for its convention. Costs, meeting space, show floor size, load bearing capacity, ceiling height, room cost, booking policies, contract stipulations – and on and on and on. They utilize a site selection company to narrow down any potential convention sites, and then also to negotiate the necessary contracts once a site has been selected. Connie Bergeron of Site Selection Solutions is a pro at this stuff and has worked very effectively for NAEC for years.

So this year, Connie comes up with Grand Rapids Michigan as fitting the bill – a qualified option for an NAEC convention – and believe it or not, there aren’t that many. Grand Rapids seems like a weird place for an elevator convention, so Faye from the NAEC office goes and checks it out. Faye reports that, as strange as it sounds, Grand Rapids really looks good.

Teresa, knowing that a city like Grand Rapids is bound to be met with some degree of skepticism, gathers a cross section of NAEC membership to come with her to do some close quarters inspection. The thought process is that if this group buys in, everybody will – and NAEC will have a group of members out there already sold on the idea that this is a really good place to hold the convention. The exact same process resulted in our going to Cincinnati a couple of years ago – and by acclamation, it was one of the best convention venues NAEC has ever visited.

So off we go – with the city of Grand Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau – called Experience Grand Rapids – picking up a substantial portion of the expense. It’s John Fichera of TEI from New York, Ken Garst of Great Lakes Elevator from Chicago, Erik Bleyle of Bleyle Elevator from San Francisco, Mike Klehr of MEI from Minnesota, Mike Paschke of Canton Elevator from Ohio, and our token Kanuk – Steve Husband of GAL Canada – and me.  How would you like to try to ride herd on that crew?

The attention that was paid to our every question was total. Although I think we rubbed shoulders with just about everyone who works in the hospitality industry east of the Mississippi, our primary care takers were Bob Snyders from Experience Grand Rapids, Heather Bacle who is Sales Manager for the Amway Hotel Collection, and Kathy Bart and Kristy Doak who are both attached to the convention Center. This quartet is an amazing combination of competency and warmth – and Kristy was shrugging off the fact that her first born is due next week.

Mike, Mike, John, Bob, Heather,Ken, Teresa and me. Missing are Erik and Steve

Mike, Mike, John, Bob, Heather,Ken, Teresa and me. Missing are Erik and Steve

Teresa put us through the paces. Over the three days, we heard about, drove by, walked through, looked at, talked over, tried out, questioned, ate, drank, and absorbed everything that Grand Rapids Michigan had to offer. And you know what? Pretty neat place. We all agreed that if NAEC can come to terms with Grand Rapids, it would be a really good venue. NAEC contractors and suppliers from every corner of the country are going to enjoy this city.

The convention Center is modern, well organized, close to all of the right hotel space, and within walking distance from a plethora of independent bars and restaurants. If Grand Rapids happens, the HQ hotel would be The Amway Grand. Very nice place, affordable by almost any standard, great lobby, bar, restaurants, and exercise room. And another thing that you couldn’t miss – the people of Grand Rapids are friendly…..and,,,, they want our business. In some cities, our show is considered a very small piece of business. In Grand Rapids, we are exactly the size they are looking for. We would fill a good deal of the two major hotels and have the entire convention center to ourselves.

Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan with close to 1 million in the greater metropolitan area. Depending of the time of year, there are 10 airlines that fly into GR and these fly nonstop from as many as 19 different cities.

For dinner on the final night our merry band was joined by a couple of the heavy hitters in Grand Rapids promotion sphere as well as a group of local elevator types. Cal Rogler – Chief Inspector for the State of Michigan, Dave Flint from U of Mich, Bob Schumacher from Mich State University, and four of the McNally clan from McNally Elevator all joined in the merriment. We had a great meal amongst great company.

I suspect there will be an NAEC Convention held in Grand Rapids at some point – maybe 2019 – Go – you’re gonna like it.

 

NAEC / Elevator U Update

If you have been following this blog you will remember that I wrote about Elevator U back in June after attending their annual meeting. They are a faction in our industry who would really benefit from access to the NAEC educational program (CET) at reasonable cost. If these entities were part of NAEC, they would also likely attend the annual convention and get the benefit of exposure to almost 200 exhibitors as well as interact with many Contractor companies with whom they could do business. I have always contended that this is a win-win. The Elevator U types get education and a closer relationship with the NAEC members, and the NAEC members get to meet and mingle with yet another faction of the industry that buys both equipment and contracting.

In September, I made a plea (and wrote a blog about it) to the combined NAEC and CECA Supplier faction at the United event.  A By Laws revision will be necessary in order for Elevator U types to become NAEC members.  After consideration by the NAEC BOD, the NAEC Bylaws committee will convene sometime soon to review / develop the clauses that need revision to accommodate this change. I continue to believe the inclusion and welcoming of the university and institutional organizations has great potential to boost their growth as well as NAEC’s.

So, my hope, although maybe ambitious, is to see a proposal from the BPSI_EU_55552_Sign_EUlogo4cy Laws committeeNAEC go before the BOD for consideration at the meeting which will be held during the Spring Conference – in April at Dana Point, CA. Great news, Great progress.

NAEC Board of Directors

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Ken Garst (Great Lakes Elevator), Doug Witham (GAL), Hugh Bertschin (Premier Elevator) enjoying some down time

I am very privileged once every year to be able to accompany Teresa to her Mid-Year Board of Directors Meeting. The members of the BOD have 3 meetings a year, one each during the Spring Conference and the Convention and this Mid-Year (half way through the fiscal year) Meeting. This is the only time a BOD and spouses are together separate from the general membership.  It is the NAEC’s way of saying ‘thank you’ for all of the volunteer time and effort that the board members expend during the year. Read more…

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